Bethlehem

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. -
Micah 5:2 (ESV)

By: Chuck Knowles

We are all familiar with that disappointing feeling of unmet expectations. Sadly, that new car didn’t increase the quality of your life as was advertised. You finally purchase the house of your dreams, yet you feel no more peaceful or secure than when you were living in that apartment, maybe even less. On the other hand, how refreshing and satisfying it is when something surprises us, out of nowhere, and surpasses our expectations. The Bible is full of stories where God blessed his people in ways they did not expect. 

Consider the story of the prophet Samuel choosing the next king of Israel.  Samuel’s impulse was to choose Jesse’s oldest son. However, the impressive stature of Eliab belied the fact that he was not to be chosen. Human eyes saw “surely Jehovah’s anointed,” Yet God’s verdict was, “I have rejected him.” God had a different man in mind. A man that he knew would be a blessing to Israel, and it was not someone Samuel would have guessed. The place of Jesus’ birth fits this description perfectly. 

The author C. S. Lewis believed in Christianity because, like reality, if often turns out to be “something you could not have guessed.” The prophet Micah declared that the long-awaited Messiah would be born in David’s lowly hometown of Bethlehem—a town “too little to be among the clans of Judah!” As Lewis states, this is “very unlike what we expected,” but clearly in harmony with “God’s way of working.”

And that’s the key: God has his own surprising way of working. More often than not, his way is not what we would expect. I wonder, how often we miss out on God’s blessing because it’s from a place “we wouldn’t have guessed?” Dear friend, let’s use this Advent season as a time to readjust our expectations. Let’s determine to allow God to meet our needs rather than allow our impulses to guide us. Let’s open our heart and mind so we can be pleasantly surprised as God blesses us in ways we would never have guessed.